IRDA confident of achieving investment target of RM383b despite pandemic

by BERNAMA / pic credit: irda.com.my

THE Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) is confident of achieving its investment target of RM383 billion by 2025, after registering about 87% or RM332 billion of the investment as of June 2020 despite being hit by the Covid-19 pandemic crisis.

Its economics and prosperity director Engku Ahmad Kamel Engku Taib said with about another RM50 billion of investment over the next five years, the target was achievable.

“I reckon there will be challenges, depending on how the current Covid-19 pandemic crisis would prolong, but at the same time, we believe sooner or later people will have to continue to invest in some key areas.

“In difficult times, there would always be new areas of opportunity that would come in,” he said during a webinar organised by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) titled, “Mida Invest Series: Unfolding States’ Business Potential, a briefing by the Johor State Government”.

He said IRDA had received a number of enquiries particularly from Western countries seeking to relocate their manufacturing bases due to problems faced by the US-China trade spat.

Although the companies would not pull out from China due to its large domestic market consumption, there is a need for them to relocate some facilities, in order to regionalise their supply chain to continue supplying in disputed markets, particularly in the US.

He said Johor being next to Singapore has the advantage as a lot of manufacturers, including those from the republic, were favouring the state as their manufacturing base as their products could easily be transported through the causeway.

“As we know, Singapore signed more free trade agreements (FTAs) compared to us which gave them a lot of advantages while our government continues to negotiate and develop our FTAs,” he said.

He said the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a proposed FTA in the Asia-Pacific region between the 10 Asean member states and five of their FTA partners — Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea — would open up a lot of opportunities for Malaysia.

Engku Ahmad Kamel said the ingredients were there, and due to the pandemic, the people have learned to become more resilient.

The pandemic has pushed people towards the utilisation of technology and, this he hopes, would move things faster.